Cross-country crime spree may include Hawaii - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Cross-country crime spree may include Hawaii

Michael Pollara Michael Pollara
Authorities suspect Pollara's 70 year old mother, Margaret, of acting as a lookout. Authorities suspect Pollara's 70 year old mother, Margaret, of acting as a lookout.
The surveillance video shows Pollara allegedly "box stuffing"... The surveillance video shows Pollara allegedly "box stuffing"...
Sgt. Rich Rossman Sgt. Rich Rossman
Pollara used his rewards card which made it easier for authorities to track him down. Pollara used his rewards card which made it easier for authorities to track him down.
AIEA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Investigators call him a "one man wrecking crew".

Authorities say a Florida man launched a cross-country crime spree - even coming here to Hawaii - and allegedly stole millions of dollars worth of merchandise from retailers. A court affidavit says he did have an accomplice - his 70 year old mother.

Florida documents list Hawaii's Toys R Us as one of dozens, nationwide, targeted by 46 year old Michael Pollara.

At a Broward County Sheriff's Department news conference, a deputy describes store surveillance video, "They're going to start stuffing the expensive items into the box - which they've already removed the contents from."

The surveillance video shows Pollara allegedly "box stuffing" - where he removes the contents of an inexpensive item, hides it somewhere in the store, and refills the box with higher-ticket merchandise. He's then charged the cheaper price. Detectives say he sells the high-value items on ebay.

Sgt. Rich Rossman of the sheriff's department says, "One of his goals: to visit all 50 states and commit thefts in all 50 states - which he was very proud of. He did succeed."

Hawaii News Now asked Toys R Us for comment on what may have occurred locally. They directed us to authorities. Pollara's luck apparently ran out when an alert Florida employee noticed missing merchandise. He'd been using a rewards card with purchases - making it easier for authorities to track him down. They claim his cross-country shopping spree included other major store chains.

"The financial impact of this - just talking to a couple of retailers, is 4-5 million," says Sgt. Rossman.

Authorities say Pollara did not act alone - oftentimes, using his 70 year old mother, Margaret, as a lookout. The mother-son duo went to court on charges of grand theft.

"It says that you obtained the property of Toys R Us, three Harry Potter Legos," a judge explained to Margaret Pollara, via closed-circuit court TV. "No," says the elder Pollara. The judge continued, "The value of $449." "No, sir," she answered.

Authorities say Michael Pollara liked to travel, and his scheme helped finance trips around the world. They believe his crimes spanned more than a decade and estimate he profited about one million dollars in that time.

 

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